Make a Difference
This is a true story printed with permission. Names and places
have been changed to maintain the anonymity of individuals involved. At the end
of the story I will give an overview of AIDS in the Bahamas.
She was only
thirty and a single mother of two lovely children, ages nine and six. Her name
was Susan. Hundreds filled the little church as her lifeless body laid before us
in a beautiful white casket. As I looked at her cold face lying there, I saw
peace and contentment. The hours and minutes before her death at Princes
Margaret Hospital she reached out and touched those around her. She told us
"donít worry about me, I have peace in Jesus." How could she be at
peace even when facing death? Was it always that easy for her?
- Susan contracted the HIV
virus ten years earlier, just about a year before she gave birth to her first
child. She was devastated when she found out that her life would prematurely
come to an end. This was not what she planned for. She told no one about the
illness. She was afraid that she would no longer have friends and her relatives
would despise her. Only those at the hospital who provided her medical care were
her listening ears. How did she get the virus? Just before her death, she openly
admitted that she contracted the HIV virus by having indiscriminate sexual
relationships with just two men who did not use condoms. Ironically, she
believed that one gave her the virus (her boyfriend) also transmitted it to two
other women who died a few months earlier. What about the man who gave her the
virus? He is still very much alive today. He is a "healthy carrier"
proudly luring his victim into his deadly sexual fangs, infecting them with the
deadly virus. He is actually a human lethal weapon who should be charged with a
crimeĖhaving sex with the intent to killĖmurder.
- Susan did her best to live
a normal life. Regularly she attended the clinic, getting regular checkups and
taking her medicine. She did not miss one day of work for more than nine years.
Two years after finding out that she had the deadly virus she attended a
spiritual revival in her neighborhood and became a Christian. She made a
commitment to refrain from premarital sex, and from that day on, lived a
dedicated Christian life becoming active in her church. She sang in the youth
choir and participated in as many activities that time would allow her to do.
Still, no one knew about her deadly secret. It was not until August of 1997 when
she became seriously ill. Her beauty and youthful spirit began to quickly fade.
Her mother, who did not know that she had the virus was wondering what was going
on. After weeks of pleading in vain to Susan to tell her what was going on, she
persuaded a close relative to Susan to try and find out what was happening to
her. It worked. In tears, Susan wrote her mother a letter letting her know what
was happening to her. Her mother was shocked to hear the news. The news went as
shock waves through her family and church friends. The good thing is that no one
abandoned her. In fact, the youth rallied around her and provided the necessary
support and care up until her death. The church provided money for
medication, foods, clothing, and assistance to her family during this time of
- THE DEATH
- Susan faded away before
our eyes. During the last few weeks of her life, her body became almost
lifeless. Her appetite was greatly diminished. Even when she ate the food it did
not stay in her stomach. Her skin hung droopingly on her skeletal frame. Her
lips were constantly cracking, causing painful bleeding wounds. Her dark skin
became even darker with blotches and sores. Her legs became too weak to hold up
her 75-pound body weight. Her eyes were setting further back in their sockets.
Her speech was severely hampered from a weak tongue. But there was one thing
that was not dying. It was her faith in her Lord. It grew stronger the closer
she came to death. She said "If I die, I am all right in Jesus."
During those last weeks of her life, I was encouraged as I would meet her
reading her Bible. Her favorite passage was: "The Lord is my shepherd . .
." Her large sunken eyes, which normally spelled death, beamed through the
threat of death, with hope and peace. The day before she died, her frail facial
muscles mustered a bright smile that I would never forget. My ears stood up as I
heard her weak voice mutter: "Donít worry about me," she said,
"Iíve found peace in Jesus." As it was normally my practice, I took
her frail hand and kissed her on her forehead. Within twenty-four hours she was
The church was packed on
the bright summer Sunday. I could not help but shed tears as I saw her body
before me. Dressed in white, the morticianís make-up artist had performed a
near-perfect transformation of her face that radiated her inner peace and
youthful spirit. It was as if she was transformed from death into life. What
really angered me was that the "lethal weapon" was still on the loose.
COULD BE YOU
- We must put an end to the
spread of this deadly virus. During this week the AIDS Secretariat of the
Bahamas is observing AIDS Awareness Week. The theme is "AIDS! Men Make a
Difference." There is something we must do to help our men become
responsible sex partners and faithful husbands. Our boys are raised with the
concept that they have greater sexual right and freedom than females. This
belief is now reaping havoc on our families. The AIDS Secretariatís goal is to
help men see that they play a major role in the prevention of all sexually
transmitted diseases. " Studies from around the world show that men on
average have more sex partners than women. This means that a man with HIV is
likely to pass the virus on to a greater number of people than a woman,
especially since for biologically reasons HIV is twice as easily transmitted
sexually from a man to a woman as vice versa." (AIDS Secretariat).
We need our men to have a
healthier attitude about sex. Men must realize that having sex with multiple
partners increases the risk of transmitting or acquiring AIDS tenfold. No
faithful married couple has ever contracted any sexually transmitted diseases.
Secondly, having unprotected sex between unmarried people is always risky
business. Ladies, if he does not have on a "Jimmy Hat" (Condom) then
you must "skippy" out of there. Gentlemen, if she is begging you to ly
with her then you need to remember that you might have to make two beds: one for
the sex party and the other for the grave.
It isnít a secret. Sex
is sweet, and I mean really sweet. That is whatís fooling everyone. There are
so many playing around with sex to taste its sweetness and not getting sick,
that many are fooled into thinking they are immortal. They can never catch the
"bug." Thatís the biggest mistake one can make.
In the Bahamas, the
National AIDS program has monitored the AIDS epidemic since 1983. As of December
31, 1999, there has been an accumulative total of 7,850 HIV infections, 3,500
cases of AIDS and 4,350 persons who are HIV positive. Of the 3,500 cases of AIDS
2,429 have died. These are predominantly young people in the age group of 20-40
years, the prime of life. We continue to have in excess of three hundred cases
of AIDS per year. Unfortunately, too many innocent children, and sometimes
infants, are getting the AIDS virus from their infected mothers and are dying
Join us at the AIDS Secretariat this week
as we seek to promote male responsibility in making a difference in AIDS
prevention. Help us to educate our sons and daughters that abstinence is the
only safe way to AIDS prevention (100 percent safe). Teach them that
monogamy (single sex partner) reduces the risk of acquiring AIDS. Also,
responsible sexual behavior is paramount with all persons--single or married.
The use of condoms reduces the risk of AIDS (although not 100 percent safe).
Remember dear reader, if you choose to have sexual intercourse with a stranger
(anyone you are not married to), even if he or she is nice, kind, or a
"Christian friend," there is a 50/50 chance that you might have to
choose the color of the inside of your casket pretty soon. Do you want to take
that risk? Call the AIDS Secretariat today at 242 325 5121.
- THE APPEAL